There’s an old joke where a man’s car won’t start, so he has it towed to a mechanic’s shop. He watches as the mechanic pokes methodically around beneath the hood. After a while, the mechanic closes the hood and wipes his grease-covered hands off with a rag.
“Well,” asks the man. “Do you know what the problem is?”
“Yep,” Replies the mechanic, confidently. “It’s broke.”
Sometimes, figuring out what’s wrong with your underperforming lead generation program can feel about as enlightening as that mechanic. Maybe your lead generation effort appears to be running smoothly, but it’s just not creating good enough appointment setting results or viable business leads. Or maybe it’s obvious that something in your lead generation program is broken…but it’s not so obvious what to do to start getting better sales leads and improve your appointment setting results.
There are three common reasons why a B2B lead generation program fails to create good business leads: you’re not reaching the decision maker, your script is shut down before you really get going, or you’re trying to create business leads with companies that are the wrong fit for your product or service.
Let’s take a look at each of these and see how to respond to each challenge with a reinvigorated lead generation effort that will improve your appointment setting and create high-quality business leads.
1) No contact with decision maker: When you’re conducting appointment setting cold calls, do you know the name of your decision maker? This is a vital piece of information that can transform your lead generation program almost instantly, and all it takes is a little research on the front end. Simply dialing without a name will produce low contact rates and low-quality business leads; when you ask “Who buys [insert your product here]?” during your appointment setting calls, you are telegraphing to the gatekeeper that you are a salesperson and you do not have an existing relationship with the decision maker. The gatekeeper, who is paid to be protective of his or her employer’s valuable time, is likely to shut you down right there. No credibility, no appointment setting, no sales leads!
2) Early termination of your lead generation phone call or script shut down: This is the most common reason why lead generation programs fall short of achieving successful appointment setting (or even fail to generate solid business leads). Salespeople are most likely to get shut down or hung up on when they sound overly staged, forced or scripted. When you’re trying to generate sales leads, take the time to learn your lead generation/appointment setting script and practice reciting it until it sounds natural and flows easily. Sales call shut-downs can also happen when your introduction is too long. On the typical lead generation cold call, you have approximately 12 seconds at the beginning of the call where the decision maker is deciding whether he or she is going to stay on the line. Think of your introduction as the headline of a news article or ad; you have about one breath’s worth of speech to engage your audience and get them interested in appointment setting, or else you’ve lost them.
3) Prospects are the wrong fit for your product or service: Have you found the right mix of companies to call on? Or are you looking for business leads in all the wrong places? For example, if you are a website designer, you may find smaller companies to be better business leads than larger companies, since bigger companies often have an in-house staff or design agency, and don’t need your service. Salespeople are natural optimists who tend to believe that one big “home run” account or a few top-dollar business leads are going to launch the business to the next level, but make sure that your prospects actually need your service (and are good business leads for your particular offering), or else you will fail to find high-quality business leads and will struggle with appointment setting. Instead of relying on one “big catch” to feast upon, consider cultivating a wider assortment of smaller accounts. Focusing on multiple small accounts and lower-profile business leads might be the healthiest and most sustainable way to grow your business.
Strategic Sales & Marketing is a lead generation and appointment setting firm founded in 1989, with a proven track record of helping clients in multiple industries achieve breakthrough results in creating high-quality business leads. Our consultants have completed over 50 millions sales presentations and generated over 7 million leads for our clients. Whether your sales team needs to improve their contact rates, streamline their appointment setting programs or get better at closing the deal, the experts at Strategic Sales & Marketing can help take your lead generation program to the next level of success.
If you would like more information on our methodology, you can download our process here.